On the web

City noise and event survey: www.bendoregon.gov/government/departments/event-survey

Bend residents have a few more days to weigh in on a proposed city policy that could limit the number of outdoor concerts at Century Center.

An online survey that closes Friday night asks residents to share their opinions on noise and events on private property. City staffers plan to present those results during a Feb. 21 Bend City Council meeting, and they’ll ask the council to vote on a resolution maintaining the city’s noise variance program and limiting the number of temporary change-of-occupancy permits each location can apply for, Bend program manager Lorelei Williams said.

“We’ll tie (the survey results) into the resolution if relevant, but we’ll share them with the council regardless,” she said.

The city has been looking at how best to handle noise-related issues for months, as the River West Neighborhood Association and Century Center engaged in mediation meetings over what some Bend residents living near the center see as excessive noise.

City staff will recommend maintaining a noise variance program, which allows City Manager Eric King to grant requests to have louder or later performances than are otherwise allowed in the city’s noise ordinance.

However, they’ll also suggest capping the number of temporary change-of-occupancy permits — required whenever major events with at least 50 people are held in buildings that aren’t designed for them — at three per location. Permits cost between $200 and $1,700, depending on the size of the event, and city building inspectors and the fire department make sure the buildings are safe for the crowds they expect.

Only Century Center, which is home to GoodLife Brewing and Volcanic Theatre Pub, has applied for more than three permits in a single year. Century Center received seven last year and 22 since 2015 to hold events in its indoor-outdoor parking area.

GoodLife Brewing had to get such permits for two events last year: its anniversary party in June and the Central Oregon Winter Beer Festival in December. Limiting the number of permits would affect the brewery’s business, GoodLife co-owner Ty Barnett said.

“It would hurt our business,” Barnett said. “We wouldn’t be able to host events in that parking lot.”

Supporters of GoodLife and other music venues are rallying to fill out the survey and several plan to speak during the Feb. 21 council meeting, said Jasmine Helsley-Barnett, a former show promoter and a founding member of the group Heartbeat of Bend: Save Live Music.

There won’t be a public hearing for the resolution, but anyone can speak for three minutes at the beginning of the meeting.

The city’s survey failed to mention the positive economic effects of live music, Helsley-Barnett said. A study from the Arts and Culture Alliance of Central Oregon found that nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences spent nearly $34.7 million in the region in 2015, and a summer 2010 analysis of the Les Schwab summer concert series found that attendees spent at least $2.88 million in the area.

“We make exceptions for ballparks; we make exceptions for construction; we make exceptions for trains because they benefit the economy,” she said.

The proposed changes fall short of addressing noise issues directly, said Bill Bernardy, a member of the Bend Neighborhood Coalition, a political lobbying group that wants the city to rewrite its noise ordinance and issue fewer variances.

“It still doesn’t address noise directly, and for most businesses that have used a temporary change of occupancy, the number won’t be an issue because they never get above one,” he said.

Bernardy said he’d like to see event venues designed to host concerts and events, rather than events taking place in parking lots or neighborhood bars.

About 760 people have looked at the seven-question survey, but only 50 had filled it out as of midday Monday, Bend Community Relations Manager Joshua Romero said.

—  Reporter: 541-633-2160; jshumway@bendbulletin.com

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